Bayonet Charge

Bayonet Charge - Ted Hughes 

English Literature 

AQA poetry

  • Created by: Safi:)
  • Created on: 23-11-19 08:34
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  • Bayonet charge
    • Ted Hughes
    • structure and forrm
      • begins in MEDIA RES (middle of action)
        • creates a sense of urgency to highlight the chaos of war
      • IRREGULAR RHYTHM - uses enjambment, caesura free verse etc.
        • to lack uniformity and reflect unpredictability of war.
      • 3 STANZAS
        • 1) described soldier going over the top and danger of moment
        • 2) time slows as soldier begins to question why he is there
        • 3) soldier has no time to think - he has lost his humanity and is a machine to war
    • beginning
      • "Stumbling across a field of clods towards a green hedge"
        • DYNAMIC VERB to throw us into the action
        • VERB 'stumbling' indicated lack fo control he feels as he is caught up in the chaos of war
        • JUXTAPOSITION between  ‘field of clods’ and ‘green hedge’. the once fertile field has become, through human destructiveness, lumps of earth, while the ‘green hedge’ represent nature still unspoilt — it as if the soldier is attacking nature itself.
      • "he lugged a rifle numb as a smashed arm"
        • SIMILE - suggests rifle is usless and hpw vunerable he is in the chaos of war. he may even be too terrified to use it.
    • middle
      • "The patriotic tear that had brimmed in his eye Sweating like molten iron from the centre of his chest, -"
        • SIMILE - soldiers patriotic ideas are useless now that he is faced with the chos if war. comapring his tears to metal dehumanises the soldier and likens him to somehting mechanical
      • "In what cold clockwork of the stars and the nations Was he the hand pointing that second?"
        • ALLITERATION - suggests that the soldier feels insignificant as he is merely the ‘second’ hand on the clock, which although moves the fastest and does the most work, is also the smallest measure of time.
        • The hard ‘c’s and 'k’ in ‘cold clockwork’ are alliterative and harsh and unforgiving
    • end
      • "King, honour, human dignity, etcetera"
        • ADVERB 'etcetera' things that used to be important for the soldier are no futile as he is faced with death.
        • represents the fact the solider is dismissive of the ideology that supports war. The solider contends that war is futile, and is frustrated by the inevitable death.
    • context
      • his father served in WW1
      • He also served in the RAF for two years as part of National Service
      • bayonet - a blade that may be fixed to the muzzle of a rifle and used to stab an opponent in hand-to-hand fighting
      • Hughes wrote this poem, with inspiration from Charge of the Light Brigade as a remembrance to his father, uncle, and family friends who fought in the First World War.


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